Mitsubishi Delica For Vanlife: 11 Reasons Why It’s the Best

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Considering the Mitsubishi Delica for Vanlife?

With 4-wheel drive, cool styling, & good reliability, the Delica is a great option.

But how does it stack up against other popular throwback models like the Toyota HiAce, Volkswagen Van, & Nissan Urvan?

In this post, we’ll find out.

Here’s everything you’ll learn:

11 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like the Mitsubishi Delica

The Delica is unique, reliable, & fuel efficient – but is it the best option for vanlife?

Here are 11 reasons why vanlifers like the Mitsubishi Delica:

  1. Diesel Engine: All Mitsubishi Delicas come with powerful diesel engines. Diesel engines are known to last a hundred thousand miles (or more) longer than gasoline engines.
  2. Good Gas Mileage: For its size, the Delica gets pretty good gas mileage, at 20 MPG combined.
  3. High Clearance: The Delica has super high clearance for what is essentially a minivan, which makes it great for overlanding.
  4. 4×4: All older Mitsubishi Delicas are 4×4, and you can switch them between 2WD 4WD, and even lock your differential. These different settings make it an awesome off-roading car.
  5. Enough Room for an Indoor Kitchen: The Delica has plenty of interior room for a fully indoor kitchen.
  6. Very Reliable: While you might have to do quite a few repairs if you own one, Delicas overall are known to be very hardy and reliable.
  7. Relatively Easy Repairs: If you like to do DIY repairs, you might be in luck. The Delica engine is pretty simple to work with, and you can find lots of info on YouTube.
  8. Very Unique: If you’re in the U.S. and you have a Delica, you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd. These cars are incredibly cool-looking–get ready for some stares.
  9. Crystal Lite Sunroof: A lot of Mitsubishi Delica models from the 90s come with the “crystal lite” sunroof, which is essentially a huge sunroof that extends over the entire length of the van.
  10. Seats Fold Into a Bed: If you want to do more of a “no-build build”, many Delicas come with seats that can be folded down and configured into a large bed.
  11. Online Community: There is a large online community of Delica-owners that can help with questions and mechanical issues.

8 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike the Delica

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to the Mitsubishi Delica.

Here are 8 reasons why vanlifers dislike the Delica:

  1. Parts Can be Hard to Find: Because these vans are no longer manufactured, it can be difficult to find parts, and you might have to pay extra to ship them overseas.
  2. Mechanics May Not be Familiar: If you live in the U.S., it will be difficult to find a mechanic who is familiar with the Mitsubishi Delica.
  3. Diesel is Pricey: Diesel fuel can cost almost twice as much per gallon compared to gasoline. This can add a huge weight to your fuel budget.
  4. More Expensive Than a HiAce: The Delica is a bit rarer, and therefore a bit more expensive compared to the very similar Toyota HiAce.
  5. Right-hand Drive: Mitsubishi Delicas are right-hand drive cars, which is something to get used to. (It’s also illegal in the state of Maine!)
  6. Has to be Imported: If you live in the U.S. and you want a Delica, you have to purchase one that’s at least 25 years old, and you have to pay to import it.
  7. Needs A lot of Repairs: These cars are old. Expect to do a good amount of maintenance on them to keep them running.
  8. Rust Issues: Older cars are known to have some major rust issues, keep this in mind when shopping.

 

10 Amazing Mitsubishi Delica Van Builds

With good interior space, a powerful engine, & foldable seats, the Delica provides a good platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?

Here are 10 of the coolest Mitsubishi Delicas ever:

 

Build #10: Mitsubishi Delica with Bench and Large Slide-Out

  • Highlights: This Delica build has a bench that slides out into a bed across from a desk that has cabinet storage underneath. Under the bed is a large slide-out which contains a two-burner stove and some storage.
  • Van: 2001 Mitsubishi Delica L400
  • Owner: @vanlifessence

 

Build #9: Delica Camper That Seats Three

  • Highlights: This simple Delica build is perfect for weekend getaways. The build includes one rear seat, so it will seat three during the day. The bed platform is made for one. Under the bed is a kitchen area with a sink. 
  • Van: Mitsubishi Delica L400
  • Owner: @goldcoastcampervans

 

Build #8: High-Top Delica Conversion with Large Convertible Bench

  • Highlights: This highly practical Delica conversion has a large bench seat that folds down into a bed with some extra cushions. Under the bed are storage drawers, and there’s a kitchen unit with a nice large countertop, a sink, and an oven.
  • Van: Mitsubishi Delica L300
  • Owner: @vanthropologyguide

 

Build #7: Delica with Convertible Platform Bed and Rear Slide-Outs

  • Highlights: This Delica in great condition has a simple build-out with a folding convertible bed. Under the bed are two slide-outs, one with a sink, and one with a stove. 
  • Van: Mitsubishi Delica L400
  • Owner: @vita_vans

 

Build #6: Wood-Panelled Delica Conversion with Tons of Storage and an Awning

  • Highlights: This DIY Delica build looks super professional with its wood paneling and recessed lighting. It has a large static bed in the back, lined on one side with some cabinet storage. The front of the living area has a kitchen unit with a sink and fridge.
  • Van: 1994 Mitsubishi Delica L400 LWB
  • Owner: @birubing

 

Build #5: Mitsubishi Delica with Convertible Bench and Bike Storage

  • Highlights: This professional-build Delica has a large bench seat that converts to a bed. Under the bench seat is a slide-out with a stove, and a hose for showers or rinsing off a mountain bike. The bike is stored between the bench and table and fits securely inside the van.
  • Van: Mitsubishi Delica L300
  • Owner: @strata_rigs

 

Build #4: Cozy Low-Build Mitsubishi Delica Conversion for One

  • Highlights: This low-build Delica conversion has everything you need for a weekend getaway for one. The platform bed is just a bit larger than a twin and has some storage underneath. There’s a small cabinet next to the bed, and a fridge that can be accessed from inside the van, or through the trunk door.
  • Van: 1994 Mitsubishi Delica L400 Space Gear 4×4
  • Owner: @michaeldietrich

 

Build #3: Simple Mitsubishi Delica Build with Drawer Fridge

  • Highlights: This Delica build-out has a unique double-bench system that slides down into a platform bed. The convertible bed sits above a slide out which contains a stove, some storage, and a drawer fridge. 
  • Van: Mitsubishi Delica L400 Space Gear
  • Owner: @strata_rigs

 

Build #2: Delica with Multi-Functional Bed and Smart Storage

  • Highlights: This gorgeous green Delica has an awesome DIY interior. The bed can extend to full length, or collapse into a bench that can either face the front or back of the van. There’s tons of cabinetry, countertop space, and a front kitchen unit with a sink that slides out of the side door.
  • Van: 1988 Mitsubishi Delica L300
  • Owner: @inthevann

 

Build #1: Delica with Convertible Bed and Large Interior Kitchen

  • Highlights: This Mitsubishi Delica build has a long bench that slides out into about a double-sized bed. It sits across from the large kitchen unit which has tons of countertop space, a sink, and lots of cabinet storage.
  • Van: 1995 Mitsubishi Delica L400
  • Owner: @indefinitewander

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Now that you know a little more about the Mitsubishi Delica, let’s see how it stacks up against the Toyota HiAce, Volkswagen Van, & Nissan Urvan.

 

Mitsubishi Delica Cost

Cost: Mitsubishi Delica vs Volkswagen Van vs Toyota HiAce vs Nissan Urvan

ModelUsedPrice
Mitsubishi Delica$19,777Check Price
Toyota HiAce$15,500Check Price
VW Van$30,000Check Price
Nissan Urvan$14,577Check Price

 

Mitsubishi Delica Dimensions

Dimensions: Mitsubishi Delica vs Volkswagen Van vs Toyota HiAce vs Nissan Urvan

ModelInterior HeightInterior Length (cargo)Interior WidthExt Length
Mitsubishi Delica51.2 inches86.6 inches55 inches188 inches
Toyota HiAce55.9 inches91.9 inches60.8 inches185.6 inches
VW Van53.1 inches106.3 inches59.1 inches168.9 inches
Nissan Urvan60.8 inches112.8 inches53.2 inches200 inches

 

Mitsubishi Delica Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy: Mitsubishi Delica vs Volkswagen Van vs Toyota HiAce vs Nissan Urvan

ModelCityHighwayCombined
Mitsubishi Delica18 MPG22 MPG20 MPG
Toyota HiAce17 MPG20 MPG18.5 MPG
VW Van16 MPG19 MPG17.5 MPG
Nissan Urvan19 MPG21 MPG20 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is the Mitsubishi Delica Right for you?

There are a lot of reasons to like the Mitsubishi Delica: It’s cool, reliable, & good off-road – but it may not be for you.

Biggest factors:

  • Excellent Off-road
  • Looks Very Cool
  • Need to be Imported to U.S.
  • Expensive

So should you get one?

Yes! The Mitsubishi Delica is just plain cool. For vanlife, it offers the best factory 4-wheel drive of any throwback van and has a surprisingly powerful diesel engine that provides great fuel economy.

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